BeaconThings - Beacons and SmartThings

@peastabrook curious how you plan to use the beacons. Are these meant to be micro presence sensors? What sort of automations do you have in mind?

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Hi @ultrazero, yep, I intend to use them as micro presence sensors so I can personalise automations in various rooms within the house.

At the moment I am struggling to bridge between what BeaconThings is reporting in terms of presence and what the smartthings devices it created are saying. May try tearing it down and setting it all back up again.

I have recently dove into beacons with similar goals in mind. I too have the same problem which I have not been able to solve. The app has not been updated since March so it could be an iOS 10 compatibility issue. Its a low priority for me so I have not bothered to reach out to support.

Hi guys,

I have had a further play with BeaconThings this weekend.

I did the following:

  • Uninstalled the devices & BeaconThings Manager SmartApp from SmartThings

  • Launched the RadBeacon app and ensured the “Transmit Power” was set to its lowest

  • Ensured UUID, Major & Minor were set up in each case correctly. Same Major & UUIDs with different Minors

  • Calibrated each Beacon at 1 meter

  • Installed BeaconThings again

  • Authorised SmartThings within BeaconThings again

  • Added each Beacon to BeaconThings again giving them sensible names

  • Added each corresponding device in SmartThings to appropriate rooms

Having reset everything I can report the same behaviour, namely, the BeaconThings app registers present and not present appropriately I believe and the corresponding SmartThings devices only register present, do not appear to update their status beyond initial registration in the “Recently” activity feed, and register “[]” for range.

I would appreciate any thoughts on the following to see if this worth investing more time in:

  1. Are other peoples devices working appropiately?
  2. Is BeaconThings still supported as an ongoing development?
  3. Are their any known alternatives to getting iBeacons working with SmartThings?

Thanks

I’m afraid the project looks dead. I’ve struggled for several days to make BeaconThings reliable but I’ll likely be sending my beacons back to Amazon.

I’m not sure what’s going on with this particular app, but there are many other ways to use iBeacons with SmartThings.

The set up will be a little more complex, but it can work very reliably, at least if you have an iPhone. Essentially as long as you have a receiving app that can do HTTP posts, you can either use the IFTTT maker channel or write directly to a SmartThings end point.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I use the IFTTT method with the Beecon+ app to create a Detection zone consisting just of the wheelchair ramp to my front door. That way my house doesn’t think that I’m home when I’m still on the bus out front. :sunglasses:

See the following more general topic:

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Hi @SteveWhite, I have just started following @JDRoberts guide for this. A bit more complicated, but the end solution looks like it will work. About 50% of the way through configuring it, including the device handlers for the virtual presence switch. Just need to wire it up to the maker channel in IFTTT and then fiddle around with the transmit power to define the presence a little better. Worth a go I recon if you don’t mind fiddling with a little config and code.

Cheers

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Just wanted to mention that I personally don’t use beacons for micro location inside the house not so much because of the delay but rather because the signals go through walls so defining a “room” gets really complicated. Or expensive. You can do it with the estimote beacons, but it requires three beacons per room and that would go over my budget.

So I use one to define that 8 foot detection zone I mentioned which covers The wheelchair ramp at my front door.

Then I have two more in the house which define entry points to two different zones. But I set the range on those very very small, about 4 inches, so they’re essentially acting as touchless switches. this works for when I need, and keep the budget low.

I do have friends who have literally dozens of beacons in their house, but they were willing to spend a lot more money on the project than I was.

If you want to use room by room location, you’ll probably need three beacons in a room unless you’re willing to go with the touchless switch concept.

BeaconThings was created as a proof of concept and definitely still has some issues. We’re giving this version away for free until we have more time to work on an improved version. The basics were working, but it is not something that we’re actively supporting right now. I would like to come back to it at some point, but can make no guarantees at this time.

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Thanks, JD. I was hoping eventually to get into room-by-room presence, but for now, my target goal was just to be able to tell when someone is in the basement. I have motion lighting in the basement but the cats are continuously setting it off, so this is my first project. I am going to enable the motion rules when one of our phones or tablets is in range, and disable them when we’re not. I’ll have a look at the other app you refer to.

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Definitely a worthwhile POC @obycode, made me aware this was possible. Thank you.

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I just wanted to say thanks to @obycode for the inspiration and @JDRoberts for the guidance on approach. I have got this wired up now for micro-presence and it works well using the approach you listed @JDRoberts for now.

If you do any further dev on the app @obycode and want a another tester, please give me a nudge.

Cheers

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So have been trying to work with ibeacons and just downloaded beacon things hoping it would be better than Beecon+ which I know @JDRoberts recommends. I find that Beecon+ just isn’t reliable enough in sensing me leaving/entering a region and firing off the URL. Now on the other hand Beacon Things seems to work really nicely, but I noticed that it creates only a single switch ID for every beacon even if it’s loaded from another device. Am I wrong in that?

So does this mean I can’t use multiple instances of Beacon Things (on different people’s phones for instance) to sense their presence vs just anyone is present?

I still use Beecon+ , but unfortunately I can no longer recommend it since they dropped all of their support options except the FAQ on the website. :disappointed_relieved: It sounds like the developer has just moved on to other things.

I have noticed that too. It’s too bad as it’s a nice app. I just find that way too often it doesn’t process entering/exiting regions and if it does the URL calls are not consistent enough. Beacon Things seem’s much more stable but the problem (which I just tested too) is that it can’t track multiple people since it uses the same Device ID (BeaconThings-Major-Minor) regardless of who adds it so you wind up with multiple devices, different labels but duplicate device ID’s. So when I leave the house my Beacon Things shows all the beacons and the region go out of range, but in ST it changes the presence to away on 3 of 4 “my” virtual presence devices but the 4th and the Region change on my wife’s.

I know @obycode isn’t actively supporting this anymore so my only choice might be to write my own smart app to do beacon support.

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I haven’t had a problem with the URL calls from beecon + and I use it every day, but there are all kinds of things that can affect it. It works much better on my iPhone 7 than it did on my iPhone 6, for example.

I am running it on 2 iPhone 7+'s and it’s been really hit or miss. Both phones leave the house and only one fires off (I use a device endpoint URL for a virtual switch in ST) and sometimes it’s one device but not the other. I just started testing with it though on Friday so I have to watch it a little longer. But it seems my quest to have really good presence with beacons is looking less and less likely to be achieved.

If Beacon Things continues to work as well as it has so far, what I might have to do is just assign specific beacons to specific people to avoid the duplicate device issue ID problem.

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Is this still an option? I want to do something like this. My Pixel XL works fine with presence detection. My wifes S7 Edge randomly will say it’s home when we’re not and opens the garage door (scary right?) If I could add a second layer such as this beacon I think that would help prevent the spottiness of the Galaxy phone. If it is still possible could you give me a brief description of how it works. I got half way through this thread and still don’t quite understand… do you have to touch it like NFC or does it detect from a certain distance?

Thanks!

Are you asking about this specific app or I beacons in general?

This thread is about a specific app, called BeaconThings. But that app is not being supported much at the present time.

For general information about I beacons and how they might work with smartthings see the following thread (this is a clickable link)

For a discussion about using two devices to create more certainty in presence Detection, see the following:

And here’s the general FAQ on presence. You might actually want to start with that one.

As far as distance, that depends on the receiving station app that you are using. But the standard for Ibeacons defines three Detection distances: Immediate, which is within a few inches; Near, which is typically up to about 10 feet; and Far, which is typically up to about 30 feet. After that you are out of range. Moreover, it’s more complicated than that, and is already discussed in the first link that I gave you, so you can ask any follow up questions about the devices themselves there. :sunglasses:

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Thanks so much appreciate your time. I’ll get reading now :smiley: I’m sure I’ll find a solution somewhere in here that fits my needs.

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